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Republican senator will not seek sixth term, offering valuable opportunity to Democrats in US Congress

Republican senator will not seek sixth term, offering valuable opportunity to Democrats in US Congress

Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia, one of the most authoritative voices in the U.S. Congress on the military and a key figure in the debate over Iraq, said Friday he will not seek a sixth term in 2008.
Warner, 80, has held the seat since 1979, when the dashing former U.S. Navy secretary campaigned alongside his wife at the time, Elizabeth Taylor.
Warner is leaving what would have been a safe seat for the Republicans if he had chosen to run again. His departure gives Democrats a better chance to protect or even expand their one-seat majority in the U.S. Senate.
Warner, former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, became a respected voice on the Iraq war because of his cautious views and loyalty to President George W. Bush, as well as his expertise on national security issues.
After returning from the Iraq last week, Warner suggested that some troops should leave by the end of the year. His remarks roiled the White House, and Bush administration officials asked him to clarify that he had not broken politically with the president. Warner stood by his comments.
Warner, a courtly senator with chiseled features and a full shock of gray hair, chose a sentimental setting for his announcement: the steps of the University of Virginia's signature structure, the Rotunda, designed by school founder Thomas Jefferson. Warner graduated from the university's law school in 1953.
The most likely Democratic contender for his seat is former Gov. Mark R. Warner, a wealthy businessman who left office in early 2006 with unprecedented job-approval ratings. Mark Warner, who is not related to the senator, unsuccessfully challenged him in the 1996 Senate race.
The Republican Party nominated John Warner for the Senate in 1978 and Warner was elected by the razor-thin margin of 4,721 votes out of 1.2 million cast. He was easily re-elected in 1984 and 1990.
"Public service is a privilege and I urge all to try to find time some time in their lifetime to serve the needs of others," Warner said Friday. "I have tried to be not only true to myself, but true to the people of this great commonwealth I've served for 29 years now."
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said she will miss her "friend and colleague."
"At a time when the tone in Washington is so often defined by partisanship and rancor, Senator Warner has always risen above the fray, focused on what he believed was the right course for our nation," Clinton said.


Updated : 2021-06-19 23:48 GMT+08:00